Day Trip to Martha’s Vineyard With Kids
While on a family vacation to the East Coast, we took a day trip to Martha’s Vineyard from Boston to get a taste of old Cape Cod, and the trek was easy and fun! The New England cities are amazing, and we wanted to get out and enjoy that famous Cape Cod experience with white sand beaches and grass-covered dunes.
Take the Martha’s Vineyard Ferry for a quick trip from a variety of ports:
- 35 minutes from Falmouth, MA
- 60 minutes from Hyannis, MA
- 60 minutes from New Bedford, MA
- 90 minutes from Quonset, RI
We chose to depart from Falmouth, and the ride on the Island Queen was smooth sailing. As we left the dock, we cruised past all the luxury yachts and sailboats moored in the harbor (pronounced “hah-buh” by the locals). Then, we marveled at the Cape Cod-style architecture and mansions situated on private beaches along the coast.
When we neared the town of Oak Bluffs on “The Vineyard,” families were playing on the beach, kayakers and paddle boarders were plying the waters, and a gaggle of seagulls were busy begging for scraps. It was all so postcard perfect. Here are our favorite things to do on the island.
5 Fun things to do in Martha’s Vineyard with Kids
Biking Martha’s Vineyard
We rented bikes from Anderson’s where the ferry docked in Oak Bluffs, and it was easy for both parents and kids to navigate the quaint little streets of this town. We rode up and down the harbor to get the hang of it, and then ventured off into the town to see the sights on wheels. It was a great way to see more of the island than we could have on foot.
Visit the Gingerbread Campground
Near the harbor exists an amazing neighborhood of storybook gingerbread houses that look like a movie set from Wizard of Oz. They are all quite tiny, but big enough for a family of four, and painted in different whimsical colors of the rainbow. The story behind these houses is that they were built on the site of an old Methodist campground, literally on the plots where the tents used to stand. It’s really worth a stroll through, with plenty of photo opps, and is no longer a religious haven.
Enjoy a Lobster Roll
The Cape is known for their lobster rolls, and every single place you enter will say theirs is the best. There was something special about sampling the local fare at Nancy’s, as we sat right on the bay overlooking the sailboats and yachts.
Don’t worry: they have plenty of other choices for those picky kids (and adults) that don’t eat seafood. Whether you choose to sit indoors or out, this place cannot be beat for food, atmosphere and selfie taking with plenty of Instagrammable backdrops!
Jump Off a Bridge
Riding our bikes out of Oak Bluffs towards Edgartown, we followed the easy bike path along the beach until we reached Jaws Bridge. Made famous by the movie of the same name filmed here in 1975, the bridge is only about 15 feet above the water which makes it perfect for jumping! Despite signs that warn you not to, hundreds of people line up each day to take their turn jumping. Not for little kids or the faint of heart, but loads of fun.
If calm walks on the beach are more your speed, there are many quiet inlets along the bike path that are perfect for shelling. We stopped several times to dip our feet into the refreshing water and pick up a few sea shells along the way. Dozens upon dozens of shells lay ready for the picking, some pristine and others whose former inhabitants were clearly enjoyed by some creature for dinner. The kids loved the search and rescue, as we gathered a couple of beauties to bring home.
A day trip to Martha’s Vineyard is a great adventure, just make sure you are back in Oak Bluffs before the last ferry leaves at 8 pm. Otherwise, you’ll be knocking on gingerbread house doors hoping for some room at the inn! (Also, as mentioned above, there are other Martha’s Vineyard ferries to and from different locations, and they each have different arrival and departure schedules so make sure to know your departure time at the end of the day.)
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